Coming Together: An Erotic Cocktail Volume 3
by hugosam, Alessia Brio, Dave Edgar, Liar lotus, Jess Malarkey, Honey123, Sherry Hawk, Justanne Farrow, Anna Lyzer, Dar~, Alex de Kok, Liar, shereads, Savannah Reardon, Lefty McGee, Janie Anderson, Sarah Rose, Rideme Cowgirl, vellams, 4degrees, Pat Daniels, AB Guye, George Boxlicker, Will Amado, Will Belegon, Elizabeth McKenna, and Selena Kitt; assorted erotica (2007)
Charles River Press, $3.49, ISBN 0-9793844-5-1


I can see that many of the contributors in Coming Together: An Erotic Cocktail Volume 3 are familiar since they also did their thing in the previous two volumes of this charity anthology series. I suppose by now I can easily skip those that I know will be pretentious literary-erotica wannabe stories but of course, being the genteel person that I am, I will endeavor to be fair and give them my due attention during my reading.

Like the previous volumes, this was previously self-published via Cafépress and is revised this time around with some stories in the previous edition removed and replaced by different stories due to copyright reasons. Oh, and Jess Malarkey opting to be called such this time around instead of "Rumple Foreskin". I suppose it's much more enjoyable to brag to a bunch of charming young folks at the local Starbucks, "I, Jess Malarkey, handsome and debonair author of literary erotica (check out my charming Johnny Depp style goatee), am a published author!" instead of "You know, I am a published author, I really am - just check out the works of Rumple Foreskin, which is my pseudonym... hey, where are you guys running off to? I thought we are all going to my place to read pseudointellectual poetry together?"

Guys and gals, choose your published pseudonym wisely. You never know when it will show up to haunt you.

And finally, all proceeds from sales are, as usual, going to the Electronic Frontier Foundation so it is always a nice thing to purchase this anthology even if the phrase "Rumple Foreskin" no longer shows up in this version of the anthology.

This collection kicks off with Alessia Brio's poem Someone. It probably reflects my own failing here but I have a great time screeching this one aloud in my Natalie Wood on helium mode to the tune of Somewhere from that musical West Side Story.

This one sets off the tone of the collection. This anthology is so much more enjoyable than the dire second volume for both right and wrong reasons. There are more enjoyable tales of smut here that actually have sex, a concept that seems bewilderingly alien in the second volume, and the bad ones are comical rather than excruciating to read while the good ones are, well, good. I can't review all the stories in this collection so I'll just mention the ones I find memorable for various reasons.

I really like Encore by Dave Edgar, a charming little story of outdoor sex and adultery. It will be even better if everyone gets together for a massive outdoor orgy but maybe that's for another day. Web pornographer Vassily in Anna Lyzer's Creativity In The Flesh is such an adorable brute as he teaches an employee how to get the better of a haughty woman who undermined his authority. He's not handsome but he has this irresistibly nasty and politically incorrect air about him that makes him a compelling character. The always charmingly nom-de-plumed Alex de Kok offers a story of teenagers losing their virginities together just in time for college in Take Me By Surprise. This is a sweet love story that makes a nice contrast to some of the naughtier stuff going on in other stories. The sex is too unrealistically prolonged (not to mention too perfect) to me, especially for a first time thing, but still, this one isn't too bad.

Sarah Rose's His Toy Story has a wife surprised and later intrigued by the realization that her husband, which is stereotypically macho and masculine in every way, has a secret yearning to be sodomized by a woman. What is a loving wife to do other than to bring out the strap-on? This one is a very nice balance of rough spicy language and tenderness that reflects very well on how much fun the two are having. It's sexy and fun at the same time, the way things should be. 4degrees' Does Not Do Well is seriously twisted in a fiendish but fun way as our main character is stuck with a brother who is a chronic masturbator in public situations. The brother in question whips out his big buddy when they are trapped in a restaurant while a crazy fellow is shooting at all of them, would you believe it? Our hero can't believe it either but he has to lend a hand, he suppose. AB Guye's Second Chances is a sweet if rather familiar story of two men meeting long after having graduated from high school only to learn that the apparently straight guy is gay and available so it's time to party.

Will Amado's The Blow Job is an interesting and even sensual rambling of a man's thoughts on giving head. Elizabeth McKenna's Private Property: No Trespassing has a familiar premise - reclusive woman meets hot guy skinny-dipping - but the end result is a story that is scorching hot yet sweetly romantic in the most unexpected ways. I think it's my favorite story of the bunch here.

Rumple Foreskin, I mean, Jess Malarkey continues to adventures of the Calamity Jane of sex, Angie, in Angie's Waterfall Woes. I find the previous installment trying too hard to be a script for a Farrelly Brothers movie and I have the same feeling about this one. The funniest thing about this Calamity Jane story would have been the part where it says, most appropriately right below Angie's Waterfall Woes in the header, "By Rumple Foreskin". "By Jess Malarkey" doesn't have the same effect. On the other hand, Rideme Cowgirl gets it right as Anal Sex Is For Buttholes, an account of a painful accident indeed, is too hilarious for words. It has me laughing out loud, which is heartless of me as the main characters are in such pain and humiliation when they are done.

Sherry Hawk offers The Warrior, in which our heroine Sherry Hawk (no, really, this is a third-person story) offers me plenty of Native American mumbo-jumbo but not enough smut to go along with it. How does this story end up in this collection? Where is the sex? I want Pocahontas Gone Wild, not this... whatever this is. I have no idea what shereads' A Walker's Guide To Gulf Stream is doing here. It's about a woman learning to dive in the sea, I think. What this has to do with eroticism, I have no idea. Maybe shereads is taking the whole concept of "intellectual erotica" to unheard-of heights. "Ooh, the sand burps up a stingray! Omigosh, my brain is having an orgasm! Oh, oh, oh!"

Burps aside, Coming Together: An Erotic Cocktail Volume 3 is such a vast improvement that I believe it is actually the best of the three volumes in the series so far. The good stories are really enjoyable while the bad ones are good for a laugh and fortunately few in number. Third time is really the charm, it seems.

Rating: 86


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